Making up a cooperative story
Level: Elementary school
Students ages 8 and 9
November and December or January and February
Area of learning:
- Citizenship and community life
- Become familiar with cooperative values
- Appreciate literary works
- Work cooperatively in a team of 4 with defined roles
- Write a story about cooperation using the narrative structure
- Lead a cooperative game and explain the rules to the participants
Based on their knowledge of cooperation, students make up a cooperative story using the narrative structure.
All the documents you need to carry out this activity are in the right-hand column under Useful links.
Task 1: Writing a cooperative story
Task 1 objectives
At the end of this task, students will be able to write a story that displays cooperative values, using the narrative structure provided.
- After reading A Good Team, lead students to an activity that highlights cooperative values: write a cooperative story.
- Ask students to name cooperative values needed for teamwork: Solidarity, equality, equity, leadership, personal and mutual responsibility, democracy. Hang the Cooperative values poster in the classroom.
- Explain the narrative structure to students.
- Clearly communicate the goal of the activity: to write a story with peers using the narrative structure and at least 1 cooperative value.
- Make 4 working groups while being careful to spread strengths as equitably as possible. Consult the sociogram test.
- Explain the roles and responsibilities (see Cooperative roles). Assign a role to each student and give the appropriate badges.
- Provide guidelines (see Example of different story beginnings and x-shaped structures).
- Ask the organizer to distribute a different story beginning to each team member. The goal is to create a continuation of the stories that demonstrates cooperative values.
Once all the stories are written, ask the facilitator of each group to read 1 of the 4 stories written. Each team must choose a story that:
- respects narrative structure
- integrates at least one cooperative value
- seems the most interesting
- Ask the harmonizer
- to help the group separate the chosen story into 4 parts
- to invite each member of the team to illustrate a part of the story
- to make sure everyone on the team collaborates
- Explain to students that cooperatively writing a cooperative story means 2 people or more unite their efforts to create a story that displays cooperative values.
- If students have never worked cooperatively before, you will notice that it will be hard for them to name and recognize cooperative values in order to include them in the story. Talk with them about values such as democracy, solidarity, equality, equity, leadership, and personal and mutual responsibility (see Cooperative values).
- Because it may be difficult to properly explain and experience each role the first time it is offered, start by assigning 1 role per team (e.g., facilitator). Help students to properly understand the facilitator's responsibilities.
- Add supplementary roles as the activity develops and make sure students keep the same role until the end of the activity.
Give the facilitator a few helpful hints:
- Ask each student to use a different color to write their part of the story.
- After 5 minutes (or a pre-determined time), ask students to change places with their neighbour to the right, write their name on the paper, and continue the story, and to keep doing this until all members of the team have written part of each story.
- If students are stuck for ideas, the facilitator should send them to you. You may also ask students who are having an easier time to help.
- Suggestion: Propose an ”Idea alarm”, a kind of signal given by a student who is stuck for ideas (e.g., scarf, sign, hat, etc.). As soon as a member of any team has finished their part of the story, they must run to the rescue of the student suffering from lack of inspiration. Encourage the use of this system before having students change places to continue the stories